Millions of Americans file their taxes each year. The IRS processes each tax filing and determines whether each case results in a tax refund or owed income tax. The laws that govern taxes are somewhat complex and confusing to understand, which can cause problems when you think there’s been an error.
Additionally, many individuals have intricate tax filings due to self-employment, international businesses, and estate matters. For these taxpayers, ensuring they understand tax laws and have all of their required documentation is essential. Moreover, they need to make sure they’re receiving favorable tax treatment given their unique situation. Unfortunately, these laws are even more complex and often difficult to understand.
If you’ve been in any of these situations, you know how frustrating it can be to try to understand tax law. Thankfully, professional tax attorneys can assist you in interpreting the law successfully but come at a cost. To save yourself time and money, you’re probably already asking: when should you hire a tax attorney?
There are several instances in which you should hire a tax attorney. Tax attorneys have an in-depth understanding of tax laws and are prepared to help you understand your options. Some instances in which you might hire a tax attorney include:
- If you’ve received notification that the IRS is auditing your tax return.
- If you’re planning your will and estate.
- If the IRS is pursuing criminal charges due to non-payment or tax fraud.
- If you receive a notice from the IRS that you don’t understand.
- If you need someone to communicate with the IRS on your behalf.
- If you’re starting a business or are self-employed.
- If you have a tax dispute.
- If you win the lottery!
These are only a few instances in which you may decide to hire a tax attorney. Some individuals choose to hire an attorney for peace of mind, as well.
What Does A Tax Attorney Do?
Before you decide to hire a tax attorney, you should probably understand what they do and how they can serve you. Tax attorneys are legal professionals who specialize in tax law. Therefore, they have knowledge of the intricacies of the law and can help represent you should the need arise.
One of the most vital roles of a tax attorney is interpreting the IRS tax code and helping you reduce your risks of potential tax consequences. Because of the intricacies of tax laws, navigating complex tax waters can be overwhelming. Tax attorneys can advise you on specific action steps you can take to protect yourself, your business, or your assets from the IRS in the event of an audit or other tax problem.
Additionally, these attorneys also help navigate the waters of pre-existing tax problems. If you’ve received notice that you’ve been audited by the IRS, for instance, you may decide to request representation from an attorney. They can negotiate on your behalf with the IRS. Tax attorneys also have an in-depth knowledge of tax codes and can help defend you against unfair claims in court. Ultimately, they’re able to help reduce potential consequences resulting from issues that took place before you hired them.
What Should You Look for in a Tax Attorney?
If you’ve decided you may need to hire a tax attorney to provide assistance or representation in court, you’ll want to take the time to ensure you’re investing in a high-quality attorney. You must do your research and make sure any potential attorneys you hire can help you navigate your unique tax situation. Make sure you watch out for malicious companies that attempt to scam taxpayers during tax season.
When you locate an attorney for representation, you should conduct some preliminary research to make sure the lawyer is legitimate and not part of a debt relief company. These organizations often offer taxpayers various forms of debt relief that may sound enticing. However, these companies often fail to provide any significant financial relief while simultaneously charging you excessive fees.
To make sure that the tax attorney you hire is reputable and able to provide you with the assistance you need, you should look for the following items:
- A law license acquired through your state’s bar.
- A tax preparer identification number provided by the IRS.
- A law degree from an accredited university.
- Client testimonials or a case portfolio.
- An understanding of tax laws and relief options.
If you are considering hiring a tax attorney, we recommend this site where you can get a free consultation from a reputable tax lawyer in your area.
How Can A Tax Attorney Help You?
Most attorneys aim to offer a variety of services to their clients. Tax attorneys operate similarly. These individuals have expert-level knowledge of tax laws and can help you understand unique and complex tax situations. Additionally, they offer representation and can help effectively settle debts with the IRS.
Additionally, tax lawyers can often do the following, as well:
- Research and provide recommendations for favorable tax action.
- Help individuals save money on their taxes through the application of the law.
- Communicate with the IRS in regards to tax issues and formal communications.
- Research your case and provide insight on any ongoing problems or potential solutions available.
- Negotiate tax settlements with the IRS to allow taxpayers to make payment arrangements, settle their debt for less, or create an offer in compromise.
- Help families plan estates and the distribution of items among loved ones.
- Resolve problems that may occur as a result of the IRS auditing your taxes for authenticity.
Therefore, it’s clear to see tax attorneys have the power to provide a wide range of resolutions to their customers, as well.
How Much Does a Tax Attorney Cost?
The individual price for each tax attorney may vary. However, on average, you can expect to pay around $300 an hour while working with a tax attorney. However, this number can change based on the attorney’s experience and other deciding factors within their law firm.
If you’re worried about paying for a tax attorney, you do have options. There are pro bono tax lawyers available. Additionally, there are contingency-based options. In these situations, lawyers receive a percentage of any damages awarded to their clients during their case. Therefore, it’s important to research our options and find an attorney that meets your needs.
Other options for receiving assistance with paying for your tax attorney include low-cost help from low-income tax clinics. These clinics offer tax assistance to individuals whose income is below a pre-defined income level. Tax attorneys in these clinics provide the same type of assistant you could receive working with a private attorney, but at a fraction of the cost.
What are the Benefits of Hiring a Tax Attorney?
Now that you know how much it can cost to hire a tax attorney, you might be wondering if there are any additional benefits to making this type of investment. Due to the costs, some individuals choose to represent themselves. However, utilizing an attorney offers you certain protections that you might find to make the investment worthwhile.
One of the primary reasons you should hire a tax attorney is that, in many cases, individuals who have representation from a tax attorney are more likely to receive fair treatment. While this may sound illogical, there are several reasons for this statement. Primarily, however, it has to do with the fact that tax attorneys understand tax laws and can utilize their knowledge to facilitate the best outcomes.
Additionally, tax attorneys can help you request settlements or alternative payment arrangements with the IRS that may not be an option available to you otherwise. If you owe back taxes, having an attorney help you navigate your repayment options is essential. Otherwise, you could face criminal charges as a result of the court hearing.
Finally, tax attorneys can help settle liens, levies, wage garnishment, and delinquent tax returns. Without proper representation in these situations, the IRS may not provide you with any relief options you’re eligible to receive. Tax lawyers can have these penalties removed and help you buy time to request an alternative form of repayment.
When to See a Tax Attorney Instead of a Tax Preparer
Your tax preparer or tax preparation software can likely help navigate some complicated tax return issues. For instance, many commercial tax software companies guarantee representation if the IRS audits your return. Additionally, filing your regular income tax each year doesn’t necessarily require a tax attorney.
However, more complicated tax issues often fall outside of the jurisdiction of the tax preparer. These individuals can provide some limited guidance on basic tax laws but often cannot help you navigate complicated legal matters regarding your tax return. In these situations, you’ll need to visit a tax attorney.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you need to hire a tax attorney. They are highly-trained individuals with an in-depth understanding of the IRS tax code. Therefore, they can help you resolve any legal issues that may occur regarding your tax return. Additionally, they can help you navigate various repayment options if you owe back taxes and provide legal representation in a court setting. A tax attorney is a great choice for individuals who need legal counsel to receive the best results possible from complicated tax issues.
If you are someone you know is considering hiring a lawyer, we highly recommend this site, where you can get a free, no hassle consultation from an experienced tax attorney in your area.
Kasey is a passionate professional freelance writer and currently studying to receive her Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus on Professional Writing from SNHU. In her free time, she serves as the ML for NaNoWriMo in the San Antonio region. She also spends a ridiculous amount of time with her three cats and two dogs. You can find out more about Kasey’s current projects here.